Originally Posted by GeraintIsMyHero
Handball is only an offence if deliberate
If you foul someone, you are breaking the rules. Breaking the rules = cheating. Therefore, foul=cheating.
A physical game isn't cheating. You can play physically without fouling. but a team who constantly foul the opposition will always be branded cheats.
Why is diving worse? You dive to win a free-kick. You foul a player to prevent him gaining a territorial advantage, or making a pass, or shooting. Both offences are done in the interests of your own team. both are just as bad as each other.
As Redman said, that's assuming that all fouls are professional fouls. To use a cricket comparison, bowling a no ball and taking a wicket with it is outside of the rules of the game, but it isn't cheating, as it is is expected and there is an available punishment (being a run penalty and the reversal of the wciket) for people who do it. Claiming a catch you didn't take is cheating, while bowling a no ball isn't. Simple.
A professional foul designed to prevent a goal is certainly a serious violation of the rules, but that's what the red card is for. Indeed, most genuinely professional fouls which are just designed to cut run and not to win the ball will be carded. It's simply a trade-off for a team that does it. A foul which is an attempt to win the ball is a perfectly legitimate part of the game, as are fouls where the attempt is to simply to halt the ball carrier if winning the ball is impossible (different from dragging down a player who doesn't have the ball, obviously). It's a trade-off between the danger of a free kick and/or a card, and letting the player roam free, and teams that foul a lot are simply using a different tactical approach.
Diving is a totally different issue, and is basically equivalent to "simulation" in any other kind of sport. It's an attempt to cheat your opposition by having them punished for an offence they didn't commit, and players who do it are operating outside of the spirit of the contest, imo. I don't think you can say that about teams that foul.